Predictable fun doesn't make it any less fun
Insomniac is a great development studio that makes high quality games. If you've played a previous Ratchet and Clank, you know exactly what you're getting into here.
The visuals are very nice with a rock solid 60fps and a distinct art style All the Ratchet and Clank (RC) games have had a distinct look since it's first outing on PS2 and as the tech got better, they just realized more closely the vision I believe they had for the game from it's outset. The first game on the PS3 was impressive already and I feel they just increased the visual fidelity a little bit more in this one.The game looks and moves like one of the earlier Pixar movies, maybe even as good as Monsters Inc. This is a very pretty and colorful game that feels like you're in control of a cartoon. Really upbeat and fun vibe from it's visuals.
The game controls wonderfully and is impressively responsive Action platformers live and die depending on the responsiveness of the controls and this game definitely shines in that department. It should be a given that a game handles well but this game deserves a special mention on how responsive everything feels. Every controller input is immediately represented on screen and the animations match your input to the tee. If you're running right, and you hit left, Ratchet will instantly turn left. None of that physical inertia of stopping then changing direction. While that does give more of a sense of weight to characters and realism, that is obviously not something this game is going for and I'm thankful for it here.
The space exploration and many mini planets you can visit are a nice diversion from the main questline In between large story based planetary missions, you can fly around in your space ship freely through whichever galaxy you are currently in. Within this galaxy, there are small Mario Galaxy style planets that you can land on and explore for collectibles. These planets all appear on your minimap and the ones that still have loot for you to grab are green while the one's you've already tapped out are grey. This provides you with a good amount of "sidequests" to keep you occupied if you want a break from the story, or if you just want to grab more bolts (the game's currency) or other upgrades.
Everything you collect benifits you in the game and never feels tedious This game is just constantly, all the freaking time, giving you stuff to collect. Everything you kill and break will spout out bolts which will fly to you as long as you're near them. I found myself breaking anything and everything just to collect more of these bolts because those are what you use to buy new weapons and upgrade your armor. In addition to bolts, in hidden and not so hidden spots there are Gold bolts, which give you special unlocks such as different costumes, mod packs, which let you modify your weapons and zoni which allow you to upgrade your spaceship with better weapons and armor. Everything you grab builds up to some sort of in game upgrade in your character so it never feels like a chore to go out and find them. I think a large part of this is that all these things are optional and you don't really need them to finish or enjoy the game, they just make you more powerful and this in turn encourages you to explore the game world.
The modular weapon system allows you to customize your weapons As mentioned before, one of the collectibles you can grab are mods for your weapons. Once you grab these, you can mix and match them and change the way your weapons work. For example, you can change your main pistols trigger to a charge, so that you can charge your shots, change your bullet type to stun so that they will stun enemies they hit. Each gun has different modifiable parts according to what the weapon is. Grenades have a mod that allows them to be sticky, or explode on a timer, or proximity or on contact. In addition, you can apply a mod that causes them to explode upwards so that they are better suited for taking down flying enemies. Of course, you have to find all these mods to have the option of applying them, but even without them, your weapons are useful, powerful and fun to use already.
The weapon upgrade system is paced perfectly every weapon you posses can be upgraded from lvl 1 all the way to lvl 5. The way you upgrade these weapons is easy, you use them to kill stuff. There's an experience bar for every weapon you use and once that bar fills, it upgrades to the next level increasing things like range, strength, firing rate, area of effect and others. Once they go from level 4 to the final level 5, they graduate into a new weapon entirely. An ultimate version of the weapon. For example, if you lvl your rockets, they go up in strength and ammo capacity, but once you hit level 5, you now fire 3 rockets at a time. The pacing of the weapons upgrading is pretty fast too. I'd say in most cases, once you unload a full 5 or 6 ammo loads worth, they'll upgrade. By the end of the game, I had all but one weapon fully upgraded and there are quite a few weapons in the game.
The game's cutscenes and humor is mostly hit rather than miss There are plenty of cutscenes in this game and I found them to all be enjoyable. They sort of reminded me of a Saturday morning cartoon. The humor in them made me chuckle but never outright laugh and I can imagine some just rolling their eyes at it but it's good stuff. They are also all skippable if you're uninterested.
The voice acting is high quality Whenever a game has good voice acting, I'm going to be sure to mention it because it's so easy to fail and have mediocre or just downright bad acting. The voicework in this game is excellent.
Solid platforming and just fun shooting It's just dumb fun. You run around jumping from platform to platform, rail grinding and dashing while killing everything with unique weapons. This is like, primal video game fun. You're not even doing anything all that special, and there aren't even all that many enemy types, but it's just fun at all times to be shooting things. You're always being rewarded with bolts, your guns upgrading, and moving the story forward so there's never a moment when I felt like I was just doing something for the sake of doing it. I always had purpose and it was enjoyable till the very end. Great stuff.
The story is serviceable and moves the game along at a nice pace The story is nothing brilliant but it's solid enough to keep the game moving along. I enjoyed it, but it wasn't anything special.
The space fighting is fun, but not very deep The space combat could have been better. I don't know how, but it could have been. It seems a bit too simple and just a matter of shooting stuff till it explodes. . . which is the same as during the non space combat sections, but at least in those you can jump around and change weapons and such. It's still fun, but just not on par with the rest of the game.
Can't think of anything outright bad
So, all in all, this game was just really fun to play. I've played maybe 3 or so previous Ratchet games but I still had a good time with this one. I'm not sure if I'll play the next one that's inevitably coming unless there's something new but if it comes my way I'm sure I'd enjoy that one too. This is a great series and just fun to play.